Onion Test

The onion test is a way of assessing the validity of an argument for a functional role for non-coding DNA, sometimes called


The onion test is a way of assessing the validity of an argument for a functional role for non-coding DNA, sometimes called "junk DNA". It relates to the paradox that would emerge if the majority of eukaryotic non-coding DNA would be assumed to be functional and the difficulty of reconciling that assumption with the diversity in genome sizes among species. The term "onion test" was originally proposed informally in a blog post by T. Ryan Gregory in order to help clarify the debate about junk DNA. The term has been mentioned in newspapers and online media, scientific journal articles, and a textbook. The test is defined as: The onion test is a simple reality check for anyone who thinks they have come up with a universal function for junk DNA. Whatever your proposed function, ask yourself this question: Can I explain why an onion needs about five times more non-coding DNA for this function than a human?
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